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Atherton to revisit Circus Club tax hike

Original post made on Jul 22, 2013

(An updated version of a previously published story.) With the clock ticking on the lifespan of Atherton's current parcel tax, which raises about $1.86 million annually, the City Council voted on July 17 to ask voters to renew the tax for four more years. But it will take another look at its decision to raise a private club's rate by 150 percent, the mayor said this week.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, July 22, 2013, 4:37 PM

Comments (48)

Posted by Do the math, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 22, 2013 at 8:05 pm

This increase of $15,000 per year, amortized over the 250 households at the Circus Club, amounts to $5/month/household.

Is this too much to ask for to support the Atherton Police Department,. and compensating officers competitively?

Apparently so.

Not a good sign of the parcel tax passing.


Posted by The Process, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 22, 2013 at 8:10 pm

It is about the process. It should have been on the agenda.


Posted by Wentworth, a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Here's the real math: There's 3 (Widmer, Lewis, and Wiest) who are willing to work together for what's right for Atherton. There's 1 (Dobbie) who's eager to cause disruption, regardless of the harm it causes.

It's true. 4 Council Members voted unanimously to screw over the Circus Club members without an opportunity for public comment. The all voted to increase the club's parcel tax by $15,000 (+150%). Why?

2 of them (Lewis & Wiest) really didn't want the increase but went along with the other 2 (Widmer & Dobbie) who demanded it. Lewis and Wiest voted yes to achieve a symbolic 4-0 vote in favor of a renewed parcel tax. A 4-0 vote was something the Mayor said would be essential to successful passage.

Dobbie screwed over the other 3 by voting no anyway. Even after Lewis and Wiest threw him a bone, he voted no. The Mayor pleaded with him to reconsider. Still, no.

So, now, they have a 3-1 vote to put a bastardized parcel tax renewal measure on the ballot. Unfortunately, it singles out one entity to pay more. It's a measure that won't pass.

Time to make it right.


Posted by The Process, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 23, 2013 at 7:52 am

If Lewis needs Widmer's vote to pass the messure and have the Parcel Tax Vote, she should let the vote stand. When the fifth council member is elected in December, they can vote to only levy $10,000.00 on the Circus Club.




Posted by Train wreck, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 23, 2013 at 8:52 am

The genie is out of the bottle and it is doubtful another study session can put it back Dobbie and Widmer have effectively killed renewal of the parcel tax this time. These two council members are truly bad for the town and continually show their disdain for working in a collabrative manner for the benefit of the people of Atherton. They will once again pontificate at a study session and harden their views in what they alone believe the parcel tax should look like. Both need to be recalled.


Posted by Knock it off, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 23, 2013 at 10:30 am

Maybe Lewis and Wiest are not being collaborative when they disagree with Widmer and Dobbie? The use of "lack of collaboration" for political disagreements (along with the threat of recalls) is really just sophisticated schoolyard bullying.

There is a real issue in Atherton right now about the parcel tax. There is not unanimity on the issue of whether Atherton should pay much more than it needs to for its police department even if wants to keep its own police department. The latest "survey" on support for the parcel tax, if you were at the last council meeting, returned over 20% "no" votes, and this was in a survey that if someone said "no", kept asking to try to get them to say 'yes".

The bullying you are engaging in is certainly not collaboration. Collaboration would be understanding both points of view, using both points of view as a mechanism to try to enhance your own, and coming to some middle ground.


Posted by Train wreck, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 23, 2013 at 11:41 am

Knock it off uses strong words as in his moniker and the term "bullying". Misdirecting the subject to turn the parcel tax vote into a referendum on the overpayment of the police or the questions asked on the survey only dismisses his argument. Only two thirds of the vote need to approve the proposed parcel tax so the survey provided a good indication of approval. Widmer singling out one taxpayer to get a 150% increase as a condition for his positive vote on the underlying measure was the real bullying.Dobbie participated in this scheme only to reverse himself on the underlying measure which makes no sense in light of his flat tax for all parcels. This is not corroboration or what Knock terms "middle ground" but a way to wreck a honest attempt to bring the issue as a clean up or down vote by the electorate.
Perhaps Knock has an explanation on why Dobbie and Widmer refused to allow a vote on the library in the park issue until there was an overwhelming outcry and petition that forced a town vote. We all know that over 70% voted against that issue. Widmer says he misread the voters and more misreading is occurring now in the case of the parcel tax vote.


Posted by The Process, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 23, 2013 at 12:18 pm

There is little to no support for Widmer's admendment. Last year Widmer stated he did not want to renew the Parcel Tax. Did he change his mind?


Posted by Knock it off, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm

"Only two thirds of the vote need to approve the proposed parcel tax so the survey provided a good indication of approval."

Not when the survey keeps asking you to change your mind to "yes" when you vote "no".

"Misdirecting the subject to turn the parcel tax vote into a referendum on the overpayment of the police or the questions asked on the survey only dismisses his argument."

The parcel tax is all about paying for the police department. These issues are hardly unrelated.

"Perhaps Knock has an explanation on why Dobbie and Widmer refused to allow a vote on the library in the park issue until there was an overwhelming outcry and petition that forced a town vote."

Now you have been confused. The police department isn't related to the parcel tax vote, but the prior year's vote in the library is?

"This is not corroboration or what Knock terms "middle ground" but a way to wreck a honest attempt to bring the issue as a clean up or down vote by the electorate."

At some point – sooner or later – Atherton residents need to decide if they're willing to pay higher taxes to fund the police department and its current compensation structure.


Posted by Longtime observer, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Is there so much support for funding the Atherton police department that the people of Atherton will keep raising taxes to pay for their PD? Rather than let two council members who are mere puppets for the Atherton PD pull all the strings in the town, why not ask more questions such as why does Atherton even need its own multimillion costly force to begin with? The health insurance and retirement benefits of these officers will not go away, and you are just sticking future generations with an expensive bill. Or would you prefer Atherton goes bankrupt like Detroit or Stockton?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm

If you all are worried that your police officers are going to run to some other agency because you cut their pay, think again. San Jose is bleeding officers at a pretty prodigious rate due to pay cuts and lack of what they want for a raise. And NO other agency in the bay area pays their officers' contribution to their retirement like Atherton does. I realize you folks are wealthy, but you didn't get that way by spending money foolishly. The parcel tax is all about your ridiculous compensation for your police department.


Posted by The Process, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 24, 2013 at 7:39 am

There is a council election in process, seven people applied for the opening.

If going to the Sheriff is such a great idea and will save everyone so much money. One of those seven can make that their campaign.

Vote for me- I will reduce taxes!


Posted by Do the math, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 24, 2013 at 7:55 am

Let's try to bring some rationality back to this discussion.

How many acres in the Circus Club?

If one acre pays $750 per year, and the council decided Dobbie's proposal of a flat parcel tax wasn't supportable, this figure would shed light on whatever proportionality issues are being disputed here.


Posted by fair tax, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm

If the Circus Club acreage is 20 acres, at $750 per acre, 15 grand sounds about right for the tax.
I would love to pay less for my parcel at just under three quarters of an acre and shaped so there is no possibility of using parts of it for building a larger home such as someone who pays the same tax, and has two acres.


Posted by Wentworth, a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2013 at 8:41 pm

The Circus Club sits on a 29.254 acre lot (according to the San Mateo County Assessor). I believe there are 7 "dwellings" on the property. The current parcel tax law says, "For each dwelling on parcel with an area of 2 acres or more $960". The club's bill under this definition would be $6,720. That's less than the $10,000 the club pays today.

If you somehow made the case that the private club must also pay for their undeveloped lands, the tax might be somewhat higher. Let's say 60% of the land was undeveloped (no dwellings). That means 17.5 acres would qualify for the undeveloped parcel part of the tax, "For each unimproved parcel with an area of 2 acres or more $480." 8.75 two acre parcels would add $4,200 to the bill.

Combined, that would equate to a $10,920 parcel tax for the Circus Club, $920 more than they are assessed today.

"Fair Tax" suggests $15,000 might be the appropriate parcel tax for the Circus Club. That's a number that's less likely to kill the parcel tax measure.

But, that's not what the Council did. They proposed a tax of TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS, a whopping 150% increase. Widmer said he didn't think that would be a problem. Really?!

+ How was this $25,000 number justified?
+ Why did Widmer propose and Dobbie quickly second the $15,000 increase?
+ Why did Dobbie vote no on a motion he seconded?
+ Did the Council consider the Circus Club generates sales tax income for the Town of nearly $290,000 compared to most parcels that generate zero sales tax?
+ What about the $18,000 the Circus Club contributes to the Town's general fund through property taxes (10.4% of the club's $172,000 annual tax bill)?


Posted by Do the math, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 24, 2013 at 8:50 pm

What about the $18,000 the Circus Club contributes to the Town's general fund through property taxes (10.4% of the club's $172,000 annual tax bill)?

What about the $x each 1-acre parcel contributes in property tax also? Does that get deducted from their parcel tax bill? This point makes no sense to me.

But you did answer my question about acreage. Thank you.

30 acres * $750/acre = $22,500. That's the fair tax for the Circus Club since one-acre parcels pay $750.

Why do I think this is fair? Why should the tax scale with acreage? The parcel tax is supposed to be about paying for the police department and for improvements to roads, etc.

As a 30-acre property with considerable traffic going in and out, the Circus Club contributes far more to wear and tear on roads than a one-acre house. Also, police services relating to Circus Club activities are far higher than any one-acre house, considering that alcoholic beverages are served. This all makes sense.

It's all really a tempest in a teapot to me. $5/month extra per member. The $25,000 is nearly exactly proportional to acreage. I'd be in favor of reducing it to $22,500 to make it exactly. That's fair.


Posted by The Process, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 25, 2013 at 5:18 am

It should have been on the agenda. Why no increase on the private schools: Menlo College, Sacred Heart, Menlo School? Their police activity would justify an increase.

Two, three, four, and five acres Parcels pay $960. Why use the $750 figure and not the $960 figure time 5, 6, or 7?



Posted by Wentworth, a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2013 at 5:49 am

"Also, police services relating to Circus Club activities are far higher than any one-acre house, considering that alcoholic beverages are served." ... Seems to me the $280,000 in sales tax from the club that makes it to the Town's coffers more than makes up for the extra service generated.

But, to another point ... this beast is called the parcel tax, but in looking at the language in the ordinance, it should really be named the DWELLING TAX. "For each dwelling on a parcel with an area of 1/2 acre or more, but less than 2 acres: $750"

It appears to scale with each dwelling. Arguably, each dwelling would generate more traffic on roads and demand more police services.

Does the Town actually charge by the dwelling on each parcel?

A detached pool house could be considered a dwelling. Most parcels have them. People can live in them. Should those owners not be assessed $1,500 ($750 for each dwelling)?


Posted by Train wreck, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 25, 2013 at 6:20 am

Forget all about the acreage formulas, developed or undeveloped property, property usage or effect on municipal services. The real issue is how the category, Private Club is a stand alone category not defined by the town council in legal terms and this is what town attorney must deal with to avoid a lawsuit and recovery of over charges for Circus Club. The Alameda School District Supreme Court decision last month resulted in the district refunding excess taxes from 2008 over this issue of fairness in accessing tax amounts. That decision likely should and will end Widmer and Dobbies outrageous shoot from the hip assessment program.
What puzzles me is how city attorney let this obscene event pass without even pointing out the danger in creating the number $25.000 without any foundation.48


Posted by The Process, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 25, 2013 at 7:15 am

The council should remember the problems with prior tax increases on Road Impact Taxes, Off-Haul Taxes, and Business License Taxes.


Posted by Do the math, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 25, 2013 at 7:38 am

"Why no increase on the private schools: Menlo College, Sacred Heart, Menlo School? Their police activity would justify an increase."

You'd have to tell me what their current tax is and their acreage. I'd support the same rational analysis as for the Circus Club.

"Two, three, four, and five acres Parcels pay $960. Why use the $750 figure and not the $960 figure time 5, 6, or 7?"

Because I can't figure out – perhaps you can help me – how a two- or three- acre house generates more road repair/improvement needs and police services than a one-acre house, as compared to a 30-acre club with hundreds of members, guests, and staff coming and going each day.

"It should have been on the agenda."

Now we agree (though we probably disagree on what the ultimate resolution should be). Apparently it is for the next meeting, and everyone can have a chance to show up and make their points before the reconsideration vote.


Posted by Do the math, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 25, 2013 at 8:49 am

Forgot to mention:

"The Alameda School District Supreme Court decision last month resulted in the district refunding excess taxes from 2008 over this issue of fairness in accessing tax amounts."

That type of reasoning cannot apply to this situation, in which it's being taken to the voters.


Posted by Train wreck, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 25, 2013 at 9:13 am

Huh?

Here are excerpts from the Alameda case:

"THE ALAMEDA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT;

all persons interested in the matter of the imposition of a qualified special tax for

the benefit of the Alameda Unified School District from July 1, 2008, for a period

of four years, ending June 20, 2012, levied (A) on each taxable, residential parcel

at the rate of $120 per year and (B) on each taxable commercial or industrial

property at the rate of $0.15 per square foot per year (but commercial or industrial

property of 2,000 square feet or smaller paying $120 per year and commercial or

industrial property larger than 2,000 square feet paying $0.15 per square foot per

year with a maximum tax of $9,500 per year) with exceptions for: (1) owners of

single family residential units in which they reside who will attain the age of 65

years during the assessment year, who owns a beneficial interest in the parcel and

who uses that parcel as his or her principal place of residence and (2) owners of

single family residential units receiving supplemental security income for a

disability, regardless of age, and proceedings and matters related to the above"

Appeal Court decision:

"According to the appellate court's decision, "The issue before us is whether the tax violates Government Code section 50079, which authorizes school districts to levy 'qualified special taxes.'...Such taxes are statutorily defined as 'taxes that apply uniformly to all taxpayers or all real property within the school district'...We...conclude Measure H‟s property classifications and differential tax burdens exceed the District‟s taxing authority under section 50079 and the judgment entered in favor of the District must, in part, be reversed."[2]"

The California Supreme Court this week affirmed the Appeals Court decision:

"In a unanimous decision, the court let stand a lower court ruling that struck down several aspects of the district's Measure H, a school parcel tax approved by voters there in 2008."



Posted by The Process, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 25, 2013 at 2:27 pm

If 3 acres pay $960.00

you can make the case that 30 acres pay $9600.00


Posted by Wentworth, a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Is there a correlation between property size and demand for police and road services? There are many properties in Atherton that have estate managers and staff. Do they require more police services? I think not.

Dobbie, in the last study session, suggested that there were smaller lots that consumed more than there fair share of services. He even called out one owner of a small lot for calling the police daily.

The speculation about how to justify the $25,000 tax to Circus Club centers on the assumption that it will be subdivided into smaller 1 acre parcels, each garnering $750.

Perhaps that's what the Council secretly wants. 120 x 1/4 acre lots with high density Section 8 housing ... instead of the "deep pockets" on 30 acres currently using more than their fair share of services.


Posted by The Process, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 26, 2013 at 5:25 am

Lewis would be smart to read the Almanac Issues from 2000, history is likely to repeat.

In 2000, One council member opposed the Parcel Tax and a group organized to defeat it. Claiming waste of tax dollars.



Issue date: March 15, 2000

What's next for Atherton in wake of parcel tax defeat?

Atherton Tax:
Two-thirds vote required for approval

YES 1,371 50.42

NO 1,348 49.58

By ANNE H. KIM

Measure C would have reauthorized the town to continue taxing its residents up to $750 a year for a typical parcel for four more years. It provides the town with nearly a quarter of its total revenue.

But although a slim majority of voters -- 50.42 percent -- approved the measure last Tuesday, it wasn't enough to meet the two-thirds' vote required to pass.

Mr. Dudley said it was fortunate that roads and drainage systems were in "quite good shape at the moment," and the town could dip into its $3.5 million in reserves if needed. But he said the town couldn't draw down its reserves forever.

"Even with Mr. Freedman's suggestions, we're still far from balancing our budget," said Mrs. Fisher.

But Councilman Bill Conwell, who said he voted against the tax measure even though he supports some kind of tax, was less certain of supporting a bond measure he said was "not inexpensive."

Mayor Nan Chapman could not be reached for comment.



"It's not that we don't think the town needs the money, it's the waste," said Kathleen McKeithen, one of a group of residents who campaigned against Measure C. "We said the (budget) proposals are good and the philosophy (to change management) is great, but they're only proposals and philosophies.


Posted by Knock it off, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 26, 2013 at 9:21 am

What is illuminating about this article, from early 2000, to me, is that back in that recent history, the parcel tax was targeted to infrastructure improvements, NOT balancing a lopsided budget caused by police expenses that exceed normal revenues. In fact, at such time, Jerry Carlson wrote a letter stating he was opposed to the parcel tax as well, and it must only ever be used for capital improvements (as alternatives to bond raising), not general expenses.

My, how things have changed. Now the parcel tax is all about paying for the police department. Atherton's police salary and benefit costs since 2000 have SKYROCKETED, far more than inflation, and the increase in revenues Atherton takes in through increasing property values.

This ties back to California history from the same period. CalPERS was actually super-funded in 2000 (i.e., it had more money than obligations), thanks to the 1990s stock bubble. The result was cities didn't have to make contributions, only employees. Of course, since Atherton is the only city I know of that makes the contribution not only for Atherton, but for the police employee (though that's being kept really hush, hush by Lewis and Wiest right now), Atherton was still paying.

But these boom times were used to justify increasing the pensions and benefits since the stock markets would pay for them, not the taxpayers. Dow 30,000, and politicians who wanted to curry favor with unions while explaining to their constituents that they were not having to pay for this largesse, and the support for public safety workers that emerged in the 9/11 tragedy, all led to unprecedented increases in California police and fire pensions and salaries.

As we all know, rolling that stuff back is awfully difficult, especially when unions continue to buy politicians like Elizabeth Lewis and Cary Wiest.

The San Mateo County grand jury report came out yesterday about how police outsourcing in San Carlos, Half Moon Bay, and Millbrae, saved these cities millions with absolutely no decrease in public safety services.

As I've said, "At some point – sooner or later – Atherton residents need to decide if they're willing to pay MUCH higher taxes to fund the police department and its current compensation structure."

It's starting now with Circus Club members, and they don't like it.


Posted by Train wreck, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 26, 2013 at 11:52 am

Knock, there you go again with a muddle of misinformation and spin. Just to repeat the focus of this thread is about the arbitrary and outrageous increase of 150 % and lack of due process. You and a few others would like to make this about the police department. Here are the facts as of today.

The council members Lewis and Wiest only received the endorsement of APOA. No money was given or accepted by either candidate and when you use the word "bought" it is a false accusation by inference.
The parcel tax proposal with the exception of MCC represents no increase in taxes. You statement is incorrect as it relates to all other taxpayers being forced to pay more.
The APD contract is currently under negotiation and no one knows if it stays the same, increases or decreases. That is a matter for the council to decide.. Your statement involves conjecture,
The police department in Atherton exists because Atherton voters have in the past voted to fund some or all through three or four editions.of the parcel tax. The recent survey confirms voters here want to fund their own police with addendant extra services.
There is no sales tax revenue of any significance so the parcel tax is the only option to fund the police and a significant pool of monies for transportation capital improvements. The budget of the APD has remained largely unchanged for three years.
You state the members of the Circus Club are unhappy about the increase. No one knows how the membership feels. I would guess an opinion will be expressed if the council affords MCC the opportunity to be heard at a public meeting which was not done. Your statement that they are unhappy is just a manufactured statement from you alone.
Knock , I think it would be helpful if you stayed within known facts before opining.


Posted by Knock it off, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 26, 2013 at 12:04 pm

"The council members Lewis and Wiest only received the endorsement of APOA. No money was given or accepted by either candidate and when you use the word "bought" it is a false accusation by inference."

Now you are making false and misleading statements. The APOA campaigned and spent its own money to advance the election goals of both Lewis and Wiest in terms of mailers, robo calls, and signage. According to the Almanac's November 5, 2012 article, "Ms. Lewis, the only incumbent in the race for two open seats, and Cary Wiest also each had $3,884 spent on their behalf by the Atherton Police Officers Association Political Action Committee."

Why are you accusing me of involving in misinformation and spin when it is you who is lying?

"The APD contract is currently under negotiation and no one knows if it stays the same, increases or decreases. That is a matter for the council to decide.. Your statement involves conjecture,"

My statement is taxes will necessarily have to increase IF the APD contract is not decreased significantly. It involves no conjecture other than as assumption that additional revenue sources such as sales taxes won't come into the picture, which you acknowledge doesn't exist.

"The recent survey confirms voters here want to fund their own police with addendant extra services."

Why can't Atherton do a survey, like Peter Carpenter offered to pay for, that doesn't keep asking a respondent to change his or her mind if s/he initially votes "no, I don't want the parcel tax"?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" the parcel tax is the only option to fund the police "

Wrong. Many other very affluent communities fund superior level police services without having a parcel tax.

" the parcel tax is the only option to fund the police "
So what happens IF the parcel tax extension fails?


Posted by Train wreck, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Peter, hopefully it will fail this November and be placed on a spring ballot with a new majority of council that can support it instead of the proposed MCC anomaly ballot. If it fails then there will be an outsourced police department.

Peter, I have a job for you while we wait to see how things turn out. Why don't you develop a RFP for the town that lists all the specifications of services that APD currently furnishes and then ask the Sheriff of San Mateo County if he can duplicate the services exactly and at what cost for a three year period. When you get his reply then publish it here. This should settle the issue once and for all and support or not your sweeping generalities about costs et.This project should be easy for you given your government experience. Seriously it would be a real public service


Posted by SteveC, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

good point. Find out what the sheriffs department would charge for same service


Posted by The Process, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Consider:

1. The Parcel Tax can also be used for infrastructure and to pay off the Unfunded Liabilities. So it should be passed regardless if Atherton uses the Police or Sheriff.

1. It was Lewis's leadership that passed the Parcel Tax the last time. She has the experience to pass it. Who is going to lead the campaign next year?

2. Without Widmer's vote the Parcel Tax is not likely to be on the ballot in 2013.

3. Council Members are unlikely to spend more hours in the Spring to run a campaign for the Parcel Tax and then have to campaign in the Fall for the election.

4. It will be hard to find donors for four camapigns in two years: Two council elections and two Parcel Tax Elections.

5. The MMC membership could rally behind the 2013 Parcel Tax, then pressure the new council only to levy $10,000.00.

6. All that needs to happen is for someone to campaign this Fall that they will get rid of the Atherton Police, use the Sheriff, and save the town $2,000,000.00 per year to be used on other needs.

7. If they win then the other council members have to pay attention.








Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 26, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Your sweeping generalities about cost et. "

No generalities in my frequently posted DATA on the comparative costs of police services - but they are a bit out of date.

BTW rfp's are issued by serious buyers and that is why sellers respond to them. The data below provides market place facts showing how different communities elect to provide themselves or contract for different levels and quality of police services:

Agencies which have their own Police Department:



Atherton

As of the census of 2000, there were

7,194 people

4.9 square miles (12.8 km²)

Police budget $4.9 M

$681 per capita



Redwood City

As of the census[1] of 2008, there were

75,508 people

34.6 sq miles

Police budget $31.7 M

$419 per capita



Palo Alto

As of the census of 2000, there were 58,598

people

23.7 sq miles

Police budget $29M

$494 per capita



Foster City

As of the census of 2000, there are 28,803

people

The city has a total area of 19.9 square

miles (51.6 km²), of which 3.8 square miles

(9.7 km²) is land and 16.2 square miles

(41.9 km²) is water.

Police budget $9.6 M

$333 per capita



Burlingame

As of the census of 2000, there were 28,158

people

The city has a total area of 15.6 km² (6.0 mi²).

11.2 km² (4.3 mi²) of it is land and 4.4 km²

(1.7 mi²) of it (28.19%) is water.

Police budget $9.5M

$337 per capita



Hillsborough

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were

10,825 people

The town has a total area of 6.2 square miles

(16.1 km²), all of it land.

Police budget $8M

$739 per capita



Los Altos

The population was 27,693 according to the

2000 census.

6.3 square miles (16.4 km²).

Police dept budget $13.46 M

$485 per capita


Menlo Park

As of the census of 2000, there were 30,785

people

17.4 square miles (45 km2), of which

10.1 square miles (26 km2) is land

and 7.3 square miles (19 km2) is water. Police services budget $14.69 M

$477.148 per capita



East Palo Alto

As of the census of 2009, there were 35,791 people,

2.6 square miles (6.7 km²), of which 2.5 square miles (6.6 km²) are land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.78%) are water.

Police budget $10,262,651

$287 per capita



Agencies which contract out their police services:



Saratoga

The population was 30,318 at the 2007 census.

The city has a total area of 21.1 square miles

(31.4 km²)

Police costs via County Sheriff $4.34 M

$143 per capita



Woodside

11.8 square miles (30.5 km²)

As of the census of 2000, there were

5,352 people

Police services via County Sheriff $1.3 M

$242 per capita



Portola Valley

The population was 4,462 at the 2000 census

9.2 square miles (23.7 km²)

Police services via Sheriff $498,601

$111 per capita



San Carlos

The population was 27.238 in 2008

5.93 square miles

Police services via proposed Sheriff's contract

$6.8 M

$248.62 per capita







Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 29, 2013 at 10:15 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I am now back in town and have updatedsome of the above information. Note that in such contracts each city can determine the range of services to be provided - for example, note the difference between Woodside and Portola Valley which reflects different levels of contracted services.

Agencies which have their own Police Department:

Atherton

As of the census of 2010, there were

6,914 people

4.9 square miles (12.8 km²)

Police budget $5.6 M in 2012/13

$810 per capita

Redwood City

As of the census[1] of 2008, there were

75,508 people

34.6 sq miles

Police budget $31.7 M

$419 per capita

Palo Alto

As of the census of 2000, there were 58,598

people

23.7 sq miles

Police budget $29M

$494 per capita

Foster City

As of the census of 2000, there are 28,803

people

The city has a total area of 19.9 square

miles (51.6 km²), of which 3.8 square miles

(9.7 km²) is land and 16.2 square miles

(41.9 km²) is water.

Police budget $9.6 M

$333 per capita

Burlingame

As of the census of 2000, there were 28,158

people

The city has a total area of 15.6 km² (6.0 mi²).

11.2 km² (4.3 mi²) of it is land and 4.4 km²

(1.7 mi²) of it (28.19%) is water.

Police budget $9.5M

$337 per capita

Hillsborough

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were

10,825 people

The town has a total area of 6.2 square miles

(16.1 km²), all of it land.

Police budget $8M

$739 per capita

Los Altos

The population was 27,693 according to the

2000 census.

6.3 square miles (16.4 km²).

Police budget $13.46 M

$485 per capita

Menlo Park

As of the census of 2010, there were

32,026 people

17.4 square miles (45 km2), of which

10.1 square miles (26 km2) is land

and 7.3 square miles (19 km2) is water.

Police services budget $14.95M

$466.80 per capita

East Palo Alto

As of the census of 2009, there were 35,791 people,

2.6 square miles (6.7 km²), of which 2.5 square miles (6.6 km²) are land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.78%) are water.

Police budget $10,262,651

$287 per capita

Agencies which contract out their police services:

Saratoga

The population was 30,318 at the 2007 census.

The city has a total area of 21.1 square miles

(31.4 km²)

Police costs via County Sheriff $4.34 M

$143 per capita

Woodside

11.8 square miles (30.5 km²)

As of the census of 2010, there were

5,287 people

Police services via County Sheriff $1.45 M

$274 per capita

new contract 2012/13

The Woodside Town Council approved a budget that included ■ Sheriff's contract: A council majority approved a three-year $1.45 million law enforcement contract with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office. Unlike the annual jumps of 10 percent in previous contracts, this one rises by 4 percent for the first year and 3 percent after that.

Portola Valley

The population was 4,462 at the 2000 census

9.2 square miles (23.7 km²)

Police services via Sheriff $498,601

$111 per capita

San Carlos

The population was 27.238 in 2008

5.93 square miles

Police services via proposed Sheriff's contract

$6.8 M

$248.62 per capita


Contra Costa County

Excerpt of FY 2011-12 Law Enforcement Comparison Survey – Cost Per Resident

Municipality Cost Per Resident

Moraga $137.44

Lafayette $171.57

Danville $188.33

Oakley $214.50

Orinda $227.25


Posted by Train wreck, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

Peter, you still have not answered the question I posed to you...how much will the Sheriff of San Mateo County charge for duplicating exactly the police service presently performed by Atherton Police Department?

You post these statistics again and again confident that it proves your thesis that it would be much cheaper to contract. Until you can state or, better yet, the Sheriff can state he can duplicate exactly APD range of services (that are demanded by residents) the figures are meaningless for comparison. About the only community close in character, size and land mass is Hillsborough which is not outsourced and their number per person is close to Atherton.

The first thing to find out would be to ask the Sheriff if he can do exactly the same police work,service and response. For instance, you can ask if they will allow the 1,600 home burglary alarms currently wired directly into the town switchboard to be hooked up in the same fashion. The answer will likely be negative as they will likely require the report must come from an alarm company to the county communication center. This creates a considerable response delay when minutes mean everything for personal safety. Can the Sheriff respond to priority 1 calls in under 6 minutes as is presently done? Will the Sheriff do vacation home checks? Can they respond in 6 minutes or less with a defibulator to medical emergencies.

Again you are dealing in generalities and until you dig into the nature of Atherton policing and services exactly the cost per person list is not really a valid argument and in fact considerably misleading.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 29, 2013 at 11:50 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter, you still have not answered the question I posed to you...how much will the Sheriff of San Mateo County charge for duplicating exactly the police service presently performed by Atherton Police Department?"


You are not paying attention - I posted "BTW rfp's are issued by serious buyers and that is why sellers respond to them." So I suggest that YOU tell the sheriff that YOU are prepared to accept and fund a proposal from them that meets YOUR specifications. In the meantime any reasonable bright person can sort the answer out from the dat which I have provided above.

PS - It would be nice if posters like train wreck actually did their own homework rather than always asking someone else to do it for them.


Posted by Train wreck, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jul 26, 2013 at 12:21 pm
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

"But you just keep coming up with reasons why it won't work.."

"Persistent denials won't change the facts - Atherton could get better police services with many of the same officers at a much lower cost by contracting with the sheriff."

Peter, facts are important! I cannot find the facts or reasons from you list and yet you say in another post I am guilty of persistent denial regarding the facts. You do not supply the facts needed and then put the burden on me to get facts from my own specifications and suggest I am not reasonably bright. Apparently you have your specifications because you now state we could get "better" police services by contracting.

For your information I consider myself reasonably bright, and I do my own homework as is evident.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Train wreck - sorry but you do not seem to be able to connect the dots. Keep trying.

For example, look at what Woodside pays vs what Atherton pays - $274 vs $810 per capita and Woodside has the same officers every day just like Atherton and gets additional traffic patrols that Portola Valley doesn't. What do you think Atherton gets for its additional $536 per capita that Woodside doesn't get? Do you think that everybody should be charged for the alarm service that only some people get?

If you want more facts then go get them and stop being so lazy.


Posted by Knock it off, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 29, 2013 at 1:13 pm


[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is what Woodside gets from the sheriff for its $274 per capita:

A. BASIC SERVICES.
1) Township‐wide patrol services on a 24hour,seven‐days a week basis.
2) Public SafetyDispatch24hour,seven‐days a week.
3) Basic traffic and bicycle law enforcement.
4) Parking enforcement and citation processing services.
5) Special security details (i.e., bicycle and running events, 4
th of July Parade, Presidential visits, Noon‐time Riders
bicycle group travel monitoring&enforcement,rodeos,King'sMountainArts Fair,farmers markets, etc.)
6) Crime reports, investigation,surveillance and apprehension and arrest of suspects.
7) Transportation of suspects to County jail.
8) Presentations and participation at various Town meetings and neighborhood groups.
9) Crime prevention activities.
10) Quarterly statistical reports.
B. SPECIAL SERVICES.
1) K‐9Deputy available for special services.
2) Emergency manpower availability during emergency situations.
3) SchoolResourceOfficer assigned to local schools.
 D.A.R.E.Programs.
 SoberGraduations.
 Government classes.
 Counseling.EXHIBIT A ‐ SERVICES
 Other courses available.
4) Special investigative services.
 Narcotics Task Force (NTF).
 Vehicle Theft Task Force (VTTF).
 The Sheriff will provide these services on behalf of the Town, and the payments made
to the County under this agreement include compensation for NTF and VTTF services.
Therefore, the Town will not be a signatory to any other agreements for NTF or VTTF
services.
5) Search and rescue services.


6) Emergency Service Bureau services.
 Short‐term traffic control(parades, community and special events.)
 Presidential visits/events.
 BombSquad.
 Hostage negotiations/ SWAT.
7) PressReleases and media support.
C. MOTORCYCLE PATROL SERVICES (TOWN OF WOODSIDE ONLY).
The Sheriff will provide Town with a motorcycle patrol unit(1deputy/1motorcycle)to perform patrol services.Deputy will provide services four(4)days per week, 10hours each day,based on the Sheriff's 10‐4Plan.

A. ASSIGNED PERSONNEL.
PATROL = 6 ASSIGNED POSITIONS TOTAL / 4VEHICLES
24 x 7 coverage (joint area coverage for Towns of Woodside,Portola Valley,
and unincorporatedarea)
Day Shift  ‐ Team1 1deputy 1 vehicle
Day Shift  ‐ Team2 1deputy 1 vehicle
Nights&PeakPeriods  ‐ Team3 2deputies 2 vehicles
Nights&PeakPeriods  ‐ Team4 2deputies
INVESTIGATIONS:
1detective / 1 vehicle
MOTORCYCLE PATROL UNIT (Woodside only):
(10/4Plan=4days a week,10hours each day)
Day Shift: 1deputy / 1motorcycle


Posted by Train wreck, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 29, 2013 at 2:48 pm

In a Atherton Council Meeting in August 2010 then Police Chief Guerra gave a brilliant presentation on Atherton Police Staffing and spent quite a bit of time detailing the unique characteristics of the Atherton community from a law enforcement point of view. Although a little dated not much has changed. Perhaps it might be interesting for you Peter to understand the community you live in and why police services can't be quantified as you would wish. Connecting the dots is important and the most important dot to connect with all the other dots is that over and over again the residents of Atherton have expressed their satisfaction with the APD and have rejected outsourcing by voting with their wallet. The reality is that protecting their investment and safety is very important to them and they are willing to pay for it.

It is Item 27 toward the end of this pdf document:

Web Link


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 29, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

". Perhaps it might be interesting for you Peter to understand the community you live in and why police services can't be quantified as you would wish."

1 - I attended the council meeting at which the Chief made the referenced presentation. It was interesting but a biased and self-serving presentation that did not consider alternatives.

2 - As an elected public official I have overseen the delivery of emergency fire and medical services to Atherton for 9 years - I think I fully understand the needs and desires of the community in which I have also lived and served in other public capacities for 35 years.

3 - " have rejected outsourcing by voting with their wallet. " The police outsourcing issue has never been voted on by the citizens and, in fact, has never been voted on by the council.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 29, 2013 at 3:41 pm

This is funny...."have rejected outsourcing by voting with their wallet."

The residents have never had the chance to vote on this subject.


Posted by Train wreck, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 29, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Peter states:
1 - I attended the council meeting at which the Chief made the referenced presentation. It was interesting but a biased and self-serving presentation that did not consider alternatives.

Alternatives were mentioned and considered on the last five pages. Perhaps you did not read it? or remember?

2 - As an elected public official I have overseen the delivery of emergency fire and medical services to Atherton for 9 years - I think I fully understand the needs and desires of the community in which I have also lived and served in other public capacities for 35 years.

The above is an example of a self serving statement so I guess you would be qualified to judge Guerra's self serving report. How fire and medical issues (which I would agree you are an expert) translate to the making you and authority on law enforcement issues is a huge reach.

3 - " have rejected outsourcing by voting with their wallet. " The police outsourcing issue has never been voted on by the citizens and, in fact, has never been voted on by the council.

I believe you missed the obvious truth that if voters did not vote for self-assessment of a parcel tax the result would be not funding the police department. The council has always used the back of the APD as a marketing tool for the parcel tax. In every edition of the parcel tax ballot failure means the likely demise of the police department in future years. This has been well stated. So my logic would tell me a NO vote is voting for outsourcing. I agree the council has never voted on this issue because it is always connected to the police department and they do not have the courage to vote on it directly.




Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Train wreck - great, you are starting to do some of your own homework. Unfortunately you need to read the material more carefully:
"Conclusion:
This progress report on PD staffing should BEGIN to help identify and introduce what
options are available for police services in Atherton. As mentioned at the beginning of
this report, a more comprehensive evaluation of PD's efficiency and effectiveness is
underway to bring the organization into congruence with our values-based policing
philosophy."
Sadly this BEGINNING was never concluded, so no options were evaluated. The brief mentioning of alternatives was not an evaluation of those alternatives.

Perhaps Train wreck can provide us with his/her expertise for making judgements on this matter. Have you had CERT training, have you served in any public office or role, have you been an advisor to the police chief on disaster preparedness, etc.?

As stated above - he police outsourcing issue has never been voted on by the citizens and, in fact, has never been voted on by the council. Train wreck can express his/her own opinion on what the voters were thinking when they voted bot for and against different parcels taxes but in none of those elections was outsourcing on the ballot.


Posted by Train wreck, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 29, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Last post on this subject for me.

Peter, John Danielson did begin the process when he was hired as interim city manager. A contract was let for a consultant, Ed Flint, ex Santa Rose Police Chief to evaluate the police department and make recommendations. Unfortunately the report never saw public view but we might assume Danielson got recommendations on a variety of topics and one might assume it might have included outsourcing and other options. Just do not know.
Ed Flint was eventually hired as interim Chief and then as Police Chief and he has done an outstanding job. He has stated in public that he will not stay around to administer the outsourcing of the the APD so we know how he feels on this topic.
Peter, you can parse your words as you wish and the process about outsourcing which you champion but it is clear to me this dog will not hunt.
This thread started as the 150% increase in the parcel tax assessment on the Menlo Circus Club and that is a going to be a seminal event in the future of the parcel tax and future of the Atherton Police Department.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Just do not know." - How true.


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